valves impacted pistons? cause?

This topic contains 6 replies and was last updated by simon-walker 10 years 5 months ago
May 1st, 2011 9:25pm

1st time poster on here :)

I have a problem for which i hope someone can help.

My mother is being pursued by a hire company regarding damage to a courtesy car given to her. The car wouldnt start one morning and they took it away. Months later they sent a bill of £4k!

The valves had impacted the pistons and the ECU codes apparently showed the car being driven over the limited speed. We find this very hard to believe, she is 50 years old and has been driving over 30 years.

My questions is, what other things could cause the valves to impact the pistons? Also, does i've been told by a family friend (not a mechanic though) that the ECU does not record when a car has been driven over a limited speed? Does anyone know how true this is?

The car was a vauxhall astra, 1.4 petrol, just over a year old with around 14000 on the clock when we had picked it up.

Thanks in advance and any help will be appreciated.

May 2nd, 2011 3:51am
Hello simonwalker I'm not familiar with european cars but I think your getting a load of crap.If it wouldn't start at after being driven to the stopping point,something happened to it when it tried to start.I suspect a broken timing belt which then the pistons hit the valves and bent them while trying to start.Ask them for a copy of the ECU readout so you can see the date of the suspected overspeeding to see if it occured while your mother was using the car,if they can't produce it then it is only heresay.I would contact a Vauxhall dealer and tell them your story at the service department maybe there is a common problem with that engine.Good luck.
May 2nd, 2011 5:30am
I agree with bushmechanic. And I would think the computer on the car would limit the engine rpms so this could not happen. Tell the company to lick you where the good lord split ya
May 4th, 2011 5:37am
I agree with Bushmechanic, Your engine is most probably an interference engine. meaning the valves are timed real close to the piston TDC. They are meant to open and close just before TDC id they don't the piston will try to occupy the same space the valves are filling. The result is bent valves or worse. This only happens when the timing belt has stretched or has broken(in most cases). The ECM would have recorded any failure via codes. I will log the fault in it's memory. It will record things like RPM, speed, timing' fuel air ratio' TPS position, and and a lot of other things it will also have an ECM time marker as well as number of occurrences. Also, the ECM does limit Engine RPM to a design specification so I really doubt the engine would allow you to over speed. Hope this helps.
May 6th, 2011 4:35am
Hey Simon,

Europe cars eh, well the Astra is sold here in North America under the GM badge Saturn ( or old one I should say ). Now as far as I know the Astra comes with a 1.4L ecotec motor with a timing belt. The ECM will log an over RPM code if it happens but it could only happen if a downshift was missed to so going from 5th to 3rd and only on a standard transmission. The tiptronic or automatic even with manual selection will not let you over rev the engine. To be honest with you something sounds off with the piston hitting the cylinder, for this to happen the timing belt would have to break. At 14 000km the timing belt should be in top shape they are usually change at 100 000km. I would look into this very carfully before paying out the 4k. Some things u can ask for are:

- Print out of the code ( it will have a date and time )

- ALL LOGGED CODES ( check for misfire, intake codes )

- Bring it to a dealer

- Don't pay out until you're sure there was a mistake on your part

It is also highly unlikly that the rental company is forking up the money they have insurance and limited warenty ( usually powertrain )

Good luck and feel free to post if u have any other questions
June 8th, 2011 1:40pm
Hi Simon: What happened with this ?? Personally as Bushmechanic said, I think they're feeding you a load of crap. 10 - 1 for some reason the belt snapped & caused your problem & they're just trying it on by blaming your mother, don't understand why it's taken them months to provide you with this bill to be honest. Any legitimate company would have been on to you straight away if they thought they had a Legit claim against your mum & as has been said they would be insured against such damage, personally I would be demanding an explanation & some date stamped evidence. Also you need a written explanation of what the bill is for ? it sure as hell does'nt cost £4K to replace bent valves & damaged pistons, if they keep on with this then your best re-course would be your Local County Trading Standards for advice & then get a Solicitor involved.

January 3rd, 2012 3:25am
And you should ask them for the maintenance records of the car that belt must be changed at 60 k to 80 k especialy if that is a rental.

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